Friday, October 30, 2009

Where is the Best Mole in Kansas City?

I've never made a great, or even a very good, mole. In fact, I'm not sure I've even really tasted a great mole. I feel like a whole world of culinary awesomeness awaits.

Mole is a broad word that includes thick Mexican sauce. Guacamole is a form of mole, though that's not what I'm talking about when I express my desire to taste a great mole. I want rich, peppery, complex sauce that steals the show from the sweetest pork, the juiciest chicken, the freshest fish, or whatever is served with it.

I know that I'm still not being specific enough. There are moles that range from green to nearly black, and flavors that range from fire to peanutty. I've read Rick Bayless' cookbooks and even spent a day trying to make an ambitious green mole from one of them, but it was merely okay.

Where in Kansas City can I find good versions of this labor-intensive sauce? Are the jarred varieties any good? Any advice for an open-minded, eager-to-learn gringo?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

The only place in KC, I've had it is at El Pueblito. It was good, but not righteous. I would also be interested to hear if there is a better place to get it.

I have also tried making it... to little success.

10/30/2009 11:43 AM  
Blogger The DLC said...

I love the traditional black mole sauce that is rich, earthy and complex. I've made it a couple of times from scratch and afterwards my kitchen looked like a slaughterhouse. It is most assuredly not worth the effort and expense.

You can buy mole paste in jars and it gets the job done. Just thin it out with stock or water.

Alas I have not found drop-dead delicious mole at any local restaurants yet. I've also had it at El Pueblito, as well as Dos Reales, Poco's and probably half dozen other places I'm forgetting. Let me know if you find the real deal.

10/30/2009 3:43 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I've had great chicken mole at La Familia in Lawrence and at Ponak's. Please report your results as you investigate.

10/30/2009 9:24 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

How about you stop being a food critique and get back to doing what our God put you here to do: holding our local government accountable? Pay what it takes, do what, in your heart, you need to, or what it takes. Dan, my Dear Friend ... walk the walk. You have insights to share. Do so. And KNOW, I remain your friend. Just do it.

10/30/2009 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Sophia said...

I feel silly. I thought it was a chemistry question.

10/30/2009 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Mexican-American born and raised in KC and has lived in Mexico, I can tell you that One of the things you quickly learn is that all you thought was Mexican is pretty much not the same as today's traditional Mexico.

During my experience of returning to KC from Mexico among many other things I found that..

The best mole in Kansas City is not found in a restaurant. It's found in traditional family "mini-supers" (mom-pop family corner stores) which you can find in the Westside and especially in Northeast.

If you visit them, especially Northeast, they might already have some ready. I say especially Northeast because 1st generation Mexicans eat mole more frequently than 2nd or 3rd generation Mexicans who were raised to save it for a big day. Likewise, they more than likely have a large stock of it which family members bring them when visiting from Puebla or Mexico.

At the shops they will probably have it ready or served on chicken or in tamales. They might also have Mole verde on pork or in traditional quesadillas (Quesadillas de Mole Verde)(which by the way are not the flour tortilla quesadillas we eat in US--that is called Sincronizada).

I say tamales because in Mexico, pork tamales that you eat at restaurants in KC or that I grew up eating do not exist. Real traditional tamales are tamales verdes (green sauce/chicken), tamales de mole /chicken, rojos (with red sauce and chilis "rajas"/chicken), or tamales dulces (fresh fruit).

Tamales are a typical plate this time of year as in 1 month we will be celebrating "Dia de La Virgen de Guadalupe" (Dec. 12th).

We also celebrate Las Posadas from the 12th to the 25th which commemorate the walk that Joseph and Mary took to have baby Jesus. During that time every night a house on your block will have a traditional party where they will serve tamales, ponche (which is like a traditional mexican fruit cider), and other traditional plates. So they should be in large stock.

If they don't have it, talk with the owners, I guarantee they will make it especially for you if you pay them for their work once it's ready for you to take home. They will also make you tamales and/or pozole (poh-soh-lay)!!! YUMMY! If you get tamales make sure to ask for Atole (Ah-Toll-le) which is a traditional warm, sweet, thick drink that we always have while eating tamales.

While I recommend you take a trip to Puebla Mexico for a real experience in Mole, doing this will give you a REAL taste of Mexico. I guarantee it. Post your experience!

Saludos from Mexico!

11/10/2009 10:15 AM  

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